Just like other professionals, doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners are also capable of committing mistakes, which is commonly known as medical malpractice. It occurs when a medical professional, through negligence, causes harm or injury to a patient. When this happens, the patient has the right to file a medical malpractice case to obtain compensation for their injuries.
However, if you’re the concerned doctor or medical professional, you may have to pay the compensation out from your own pocket. This is especially true if you have no malpractice insurance coverage in place.
About Medical Malpractice Insurance
Medical malpractice insurance refers to a specialized type of insurance that’s used to protect healthcare workers in case a lawsuit is filed against them by an injured patient. This type of insurance also covers a patient’s death.
The expenses covered under the medical malpractice insurance are wide. Normally, they include arbitration or settlement costs, defense attorney’s fees, medical expenses, as well as punitive damages. But given the amount of information about this type of insurance coverage, choosing the right one can be a complicated undertaking.
Choosing The Right Medical Malpractice Insurance Coverage
As medical malpractice insurance is essential if you’re a healthcare worker, you need to ensure you’re making the right choice of coverage. To pick the perfect one for you, below are four factors to consider:
- Types Of Policies
One of the essential considerations for malpractice insurance coverage is the type of policy you’re going to select for your needs. Generally, there are different types of policies to choose from. But to ensure you get the right one, you need to familiarize yourself with each one of them and how they can protect you in case you commit medical mistakes and a lawsuit is filed against you. The following are the three types of medical malpractice insurance policy coverage:
- Occurrence-based policy: It provides coverage against claims made during the time your policy was in effect. In other words, even if the policy has already expired, you’re still covered as long as the event occurred during the period of coverage.
- Claims-made policy: It protects you against lawsuits provided that certain requirements are met. This means the reported event and the claim are reported during the effective policy period.
- Tail coverage: It’s a type of policy that provides coverage against any claims that may be filed even after the expiration of your claims-made policy.
2. Coverage Limits
Another factor to take into account when getting malpractice insurance is the coverage limits. Typically, there are two types of coverage limits for medical malpractice insurance, namely pre-occurrence limit and aggregate limit. A pre-occurrence limit refers to the total amount of money an insurance company will pay for one claim. On the other hand, an aggregate limit refers to the total amount of money an insurance service provider will pay for all the claims made against the medical professional.
With these things in mind, it’s important to decide the right coverage limits you want to put on your policy. And to know how much coverage limit you need, it’s best to consider your medical specialty and practice location before getting a policy. For example, if you’re a nurse anesthesiologist, it can be a good idea to obtain malpractice insurance with higher coverage limits.
In some cases, having a low coverage limit could mean you’d be personally liable for the amount of money that exceeds your coverage limits. Therefore, to avoid financial problems associated with your insurance coverage, make sure your policy comes with coverage limits that can adequately protect you from any malpractice claims.
Exclusions refer to some specific items that an insurance policy will not cover in any claims. This is one of the important factors to consider when obtaining medical malpractice insurance coverage. Generally, doctors and other medical practitioners should know the exclusions in their policy so they’d have an idea of which claims are covered or not. For example, it’s common for this type of insurance policy to exclude the payments arising from judgments or settlements pertaining to sexual misconduct.
Thus, if you want to get the most out of your malpractice insurance policy, find time to know what items are excluded before you make a purchase. Doing so can also help you figure out whether they need to buy another insurance coverage for additional protection.
It’s also important to factor in the costs when getting malpractice insurance coverage. In most cases, the price of a malpractice insurance policy can differ depending on the medical professional’s specialty of choice and practice area. Hence, if you’re a surgeon or someone who practices high-risk specialties, expect to pay expensive insurance premiums due to the risk of litigation associated with your medical specialty.
For this reason, it’s best to check the costs related to a particular insurance policy before making a purchase. That way, you can get the right coverage for your needs at a reasonable price.
Dealing with a medical malpractice case can be a daunting undertaking. Aside from the financial burdens associated with the claims, your reputation as a medical professional would also be at stake. This is one reason why having medical malpractice insurance coverage in place is important for your protection. Therefore, if you want to obtain your own policy, keep these factors in mind so you can become more confident in your buying decision.